LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
Lord Byron to John Murray, 24 November 1818

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Venice, November 24th, 1818.
Dear Mr. Murray,

Mr. Hanson has been here a week, and went five days ago. He brought nothing but his papers, some corn-

* Byron had written to Mr. Murray telling him that he “had several things begun, verse and prose,” that “the ‘Tales’ also are in an unfinished state. I can fix no time for their completion: they are not in the best manner.”

Dr. Aglietti, who was collecting these letters for publication.

rubbers, and a kaleidoscope. “For what we have received the Lord make us thankful”! for without His aid I shall not be so. He—
Hanson—left everything else in Chancery Lane whatever, except your copy-papers for the last Canto,* &c., which having a degree of parchment he brought with him. You may imagine his reception; he swore the books were a “waggon-load”; if they were, he should have come in a waggon; he would in that case, have come quicker than he did.

Lord Lauderdale set off from hence twelve days ago accompanied by a cargo of Poesy directed to Mr. Hobhouse, all spick and span, and in MS.; you will see what it is like. I have given it to Master Southey, and he shall have more before I have done with him.

You may make what I say here as public as you please, more particularly to Southey, whom I look upon—and will say so publicly—to be a dirty, lying rascal, and will prove it in ink—or in his blood, if I did not believe him to be too much of a poet to risk it! If he has forty reviews at his back, as he has the Quarterly, I would have at him in his scribbling capacity now that he has begun with me; but I will do nothing underhand; tell him what I say from me and every one else you please.

You will see what I have said, if the parcel arrives safe. I understand Coleridge went about repeating Southey’s lie with pleasure. I can believe it, for I had done him what is called a favour. . . . I can understand Coleridge’s abusing me—but how or why Southey, whom I had never obliged in any sort of way, or done him the remotest service, should go about fibbing and calumniating is more than I readily comprehend. Does he think to put me down with his Canting, not being able to do it with his poetry? We will try the question. I have read his review of Hunt, where he has attacked Shelley in an oblique and shabby manner. Does he know what that review has done? I will tell you; it has sold an edition of the ‘Revolt of Islam’ which otherwise nobody would have thought of reading, and few who read can understand, I for one.

Southey would have attacked me too there, if he durst, further than by hints about Hunt’s friends in general, and some outcry about an “Epicurean System” carried on by

* Of ‘Childe Harold.’

men of the most opposite habits and tastes and opinions in life and poetry (I believe) that ever had their names in the same volume—
Moore, Byron, Shelley, Hazlitt, Haydon, Leigh Hunt, Lamb. What resemblance do ye find among all or any of these men? And how could any sort of system or plan be carried on or attempted amongst them? However, let Mr. Southey look to himself; since the wine is tapped, he shall drink it.

I got some books a few weeks ago—many thanks. Amongst them is Israeli’s new edition; it was not fair in you to show him my copy of his former one, with all the marginal notes and nonsense made in Greece when I was not two-and-twenty, and which certainly were not meant for his perusal, nor for that of his readers. I have a great respect for Israeli and his talents, and have read his works over and over and over repeatedly, and been amused by them greatly, and instructed often. Besides, I hate giving pain, unless provoked; and he is an author, and must feel like his brethren; and although his Liberality repaid my marginal flippancies with a compliment—the highest compliment—that don’t reconcile me to myself—nor to you. It was a breach of confidence to do this without my leave; I don’t know a living man’s book I take up so often or lay down more reluctantly than Israeli’s, and I never will forgive you—that is, for many weeks. If he had got out of humour I should have been less sorry; but even then I should have been sorry; but really he has heaped his “coals of fire” so handsomely upon my head that they burn unquenchably.

You ask me of the two reviews*—I will tell you. Scott’s is the review of one poet on another—his friend; Wilson’s, the review of a poet too, on another—his Idol; for he likes me better than he chooses to avow to the public with all his eulogy. I speak judging only from the article, for I don’t know him personally.

Here is a long letter—can you read it?

Yours ever,